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WSJ: Time to Reconsider the Militarization of American Police

By Radley Balko | The WSJ Saturday Essay | July 19, 2013


The country's first official SWAT team started in the late 1960s in Los Angeles. By 1975, there were approximately 500 such units. Today, there are thousands. According to surveys conducted by the criminologist Peter Kraska of Eastern Kentucky University, just 13% of towns between 25,000 and 50,000 people had a SWAT team in 1983. By 2005, the figure was up to 80%.

The number of raids conducted by SWAT-like police units has grown accordingly. In the 1970s, there were just a few hundred a year; by the early 1980s, there were some 3,000 a year. In 2005 (the last year for which Dr. Kraska collected data), there were approximately 50,000 raids.

A number of federal agencies also now have their own SWAT teams, including the Fish & Wildlife Service, NASA and the Department of the Interior. In 2011, the Department of Education's SWAT team bungled a raid on a woman who was initially reported to be under investigation for not paying her student loans, though the agency later said she was suspected of defrauding the federal student loan program.

Read the whole thing...

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Mr. Balko is the author of Rise of the Warrior Cop, published this month by PublicAffairs.

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Ah yes.... FINALLY. I can now have a conversation about this

with the Pops without being sneered at for being paranoid. "Conspiracy theories" of a decade ago are now features in the WSJ. As late as sin, as usual. But perhaps better late than never....

I did read it in hard print, and it is worthwhile. (I just have a beef with the source: the WSJ usually merely massages the upper middle class into docile self-deception of being in-the-know... while they continue to be targeted by the economic sabotage wrought by the big bankster elite "class" which approves all propaganda put forth in that publication.)

[I know this isn't very constructive, but I am nevertheless compelled to fling poop; I guess I just have issues.... Thanks for the post though!]

What would the Founders do?

Dress like a soldier and you think you're at war

* On August 26, 1992, federal drug agents conduct a late-night raid at the San Diego-area home of Donald Carlson. Carlson awakes, frightened, and assumes the agents are unlawful intruders. He fires two shots at the door to ward them off. The agents then break down Carlson's door and shoot him in the back. Carlson was in intensive care for six weeks. The police had acted on a bad tip from an anonymous informant who was later convicted on 25 counts of lying to federal investigators. The same informant later led police to send a SWAT team to wrongly raid the home of Michelle and Tony Jones in Poway, California. In 1994, Carlson won a $2.75 million settlement against the federal government. In a follow-up investigative report triggered by the Carlson raid, the San Diego Union-Tribune found that just a month earlier, police had conducted another wrong-door raid in which "residents say their daughters were subjected to genital searches while a gun was held to the head of their 6 year old son. No drugs were found." The Union-Tribune concluded that the Carlson raid and those like it happen too frequently because of "heavy pressure from Customs managers -- who stand to gain professionally by generating arrests and big caseloads -- on street agents to produce headline-grabbing cases."

Sources: "Man shot by government agents gets $2.75 million," Reuters, December 15, 1994. Philip J. LaVelle, "Excesses blamed in 'bad raids,'" San Diego Union-Tribune, December 13, 1992.

* Once you've got a cool tool, you kind of want to use it. That's true whether it's a pneumatic drill, a laser level or an armored fighting vehicle. SWAT teams, designed to deal with rare events, wound up doing routine police work, like serving drug warrants.

The subtle effect is also real: Dress like a soldier and you think you're at war. And, in wartime, civil liberties--or possible innocence--of the people on "the other side" don't come up much. But the police aren't at war with the citizens they serve, or at least they're not supposed to be.

Read more: SWAT Overkill: The Danger of a Paramilitary Police Force -

Just bought this guy's book.

Ordered it through the DP :-) and just got it in the mail yesterday.

My home town just had it's annual July 4th carnival and what did I see parked next to the fire truck but a tour-bus-looking behemoth from DHS. In my home town, population under 20k, mid-nowhere, MO.

Looking forward to reading the book.

I saw one of those buses!

I just recently saw one of those buses driving an interstate in MN... I was wondering what that was all about. PR from the looks of things, thanks for sharing!

Another term for preventive war is aggressive war- starting wars because someday somebody might do something to us. That is not part of the American tradition.
-Ron Paul

this is good

The ball is slowly rolling on this topic. Hopefully it will keep picking up speed.

There is quite a strange off kilter "balance" when it comes to cops and swat.

In some areas you have a "good" local economy, crime rate is relatively low and you have these cops/sheriffs that are armed to the teeth almost ready to roll out the sofa and fight an armed insurrection.

Other areas you have a not so good economy, high crime rate and cops/sheriffs who are not so well armed and only harass areas they feel safer in and let the real bad guys pretty much get away with what they do.

Both of these are complete opposites of what should be happening. Yet there are other areas where the balance makes more sense but cops in the bad areas that are well funded and armed and they are still essentially letting bad guys get away with what they do because they are going after low income areas where they can feel safer to go around and harass drug sellers and users. Instead of going after the murderers, rapists, molesters and other serious offenders.

Nobody's perfect but the "war on drugs" has blown the balance of the scales into some very bad places. Until the "war on drugs" is at least eased and things like legalizing, reducing mandatory sentencing, and the ill perceived notion of morality policing happen things will likely remain as they are.

Homeland security statement: patriotism is now considered terrorism.
I love shared it with everyone I know. If anything they realize its not just a red and blue idiot running for reelection.

Bring Back Andy Griffith

And Adam 12

I'd even take Starsky and Hutch over these skinheads on steroids Terminators.

Local elections calling for community policing may be a good place to be heard ( Sheriff, Mayor, DA ).

Community Oriented Policing and the Soviet Model

Community Oriented Policing

By Detective Phil Worts
June 1, 2001



Shift in philosophy about police duties vs. community responsibilities to a team concept of TOTAL QUALITY MANAGEMENT of the community. Re-identifying the police role as a FACILITATOR in the community (Emphasis added by author).

Translation: Transformation from a constitutionally empowered local police force performing their duty to keep the peace to that of a change agent working within the community to affect a Marxist paradigm shift.

Pay close attention to what the influential German Marxist Georg Lukacs had to say about who the facilitators are in the community:
“The institutions in socialist society which act as the facilitators between the public and private realms are the Soviets. They (facilitators) are the congresses (diverse groups), which facilitate the debate (dialoguing to consensus) of universal problems (social issues) in the context of the everyday.”

1. Leaders of the community (law enforcement, government, business, education, health, civic, non-profit, medical, religious, etc.) collaborating to identify problems in the community, what the significant impact on people will be, and suggesting solutions to those problems. (This is POP, or Problem Oriented Policing.)

2. Identifying common ground, where all factions of a community can work together for the COMMON GOOD of the community in a broader problem-solving approach. Forming a partnership between police and the rest of the community where each is accountable to each other and the community as a whole.

(Emphasis added by author)


After reading the above article in full, compare the analysis to official documentation on Community Oriented Policing:

Now for the frightening stuff:



To see how Change Agents are key to the future of policing read their own documentation (take note of the "Six Key Steps" ):

More here

Community Oriented Policing and the military:


I suppose it depends on the cultural agenda. Of course I wouldn't want the intrusive hall monitor/guidance counselor model with a socio-political mission. I had a small town, apple eating batton twirler in mind. Some of the Japanese model might also have application as a less oppressive alternative if made to conform to our Constitutional expectations.ōban